So I was reading someone's post, I don't exactly recall where, but I believe it was a mixture of Scrap Princess' and this one from a Blasted and Cratered Land, and it made me rethink my Fighting Man class. I decided I wanted a Fighter class that was modular, like the Wizard class. For while my current Fighters all play roughly the same, a Wizard is very different, on behalf of their differing spells. Unfortunately, I could find a good solution. Then, suddenly, I came up with an idea. The idea was sitting right in front of me. Thus, I am going to change my Fighter class, and with it, I hope to change yours.
I am altering the Fighting Man's Notches ability. Previously, it read,
"Notches: Keep track of all the Kills you get with each of your weapons. When you get Ten, Twenty, Thirty, or Fifty kills with one of them, roll on the Notches table."
I am discarding it in favor of this version of the same ability.
"Notches: Whenever a Fighting Man gets 10, 20, 30 or 50 kills or wins as many victories against foes, he gains a Notch in that weapon. For each Notch the Fighter has, he can learn a Secret Technique for that weapon.
He can also learn Secret Techniques from training with older Fighters or reading about them in ancient martial manuals. However, the Fighter can only have a number of Secret Techniques learned equal to the amount of kills/victories he has made/earned- so if he has 30 kills, he may only know three Secret Techniques, but the source of these techniques need not be the technique he discovered through trial and error on the battlefield. He could copy a Journeyman technique from a warrior he fought alongside with, or practice one of the Ancient Fist Arts he read about in the old Handsome Man scrolls. As long as he only has three, the source is irrelevant.
Secret Techniques can be used as an action. Sometimes they are an addition to an existing attack roll, other times they are separate actions. It depends on the technique."
There are four levels of Martial Techniques for each weapon or style. At 10 Kills, you are equivalent to a Novice. At 20, a Journeyman. At 30, an Expert. At 50 Kills, you are a Master. To learn the higher techniques for a Weapon, you must know the lower techniques. You also cannot learn the techniques of any weapon or style you haven't used. You cannot learn the Secret Techniques of Flight of the Grey Geese if you have never touched a bow, for instance.
10 Kills --> Novice:
20 Kills --> Journeyman:
30 Kills --> Expert:
50 Kills --> Master:
Finally, a note. This is an addition to the class suited much more for High Fantasy and crazy, hopeful games where there is no problem too great and no enemy cannot be overcome. If you run the type of game where an Elder God shows and the world ends because that's how the world works and no mortal action can resist it, that's totally fine. However, I take a more unorthodox approach in all of my settings, but especially in Nukaria. For instance, if an Elder God showed up in Nukaria, he would probably destroy the world, or at least, half of it, and ruin things for a while, but eventually, some brave heroes would defeat him, probably by punching him really, really hard.
For my Those who Know and for posterity, I plan on either publishing either a more restrained version of Secret Techniques or my original Notches table, which was never published on this blog, but dealt mostly with a Fighting Man's weapons getting stronger as he killed more. You'll just have to wait and see.
These are Martial Schools that apply to specific types weapons or classes of weapons. Each one teaches techniques that can only be used with a weapon that fits the criteria.
This School applies to Swords.
Cutting is the Art of using the Sword. Swords are ugly, terrible instruments, whose only true purpose is to kill. Unlike all other tools here, the only thing swords can be used for is destroying. An axe can build a house, a bow can catch dinner, a rod can punish without leaving permanent damage, but a sword used properly is single-minded. The art of wielding a sword is to thus channel the blade and your own destructive impulses, to harden your will and killing intent into something sharp enough to cut.
Novice: "The first step on the path of victory is the one towards your opponent." When you make a sword attack against an opponent, you can target an opponent's weapon instead of his body. If your attack successfully hits, your opponent must save. On a failed save, you permanently destroy his weapon, rendering it useless. On a successful save, you merely damage it, reducing the damage that weapon can deal by your STR modifier.
Ex: Your opponent passed his save, thus protecting his spear from total destruction. However, you still damaged it, so it now does 1d8-2 damage on a hit.
Journeyman: "Those who would hide from War will find him a persistent and eager lover." If no blows have been exchanged yet, you can make a sword attack and force an opponent to save. On a failed save, the targeted opponent is caught totally off-guard and has disadvantage on his defense roll, plus he must subtract your attack modifier from whatever result he rolls. On a successful save, he only has disadvantage on his defense roll.
Expert: "The Sword breaks in the hands of the unworthy." By taking an action and meditating, you can enter a state of perfect calm and total awareness. Whenever a creature or object enters within range of your sword, you may make a sword attack against it as a reaction. You may do this a number of times per round equal to your DEX modifier. Note that you can use this ability to parry attacks, including projectiles, provided you are fast enough to hit them (e.g. arrows can be, stones from a sling can, but bullets cannot). You may continue to do this until you take an action to move or to take proactive action.
Master: "The Sanctioned Action is to Cut." You can, when you damage a creature, halve the damage you deal and force the creature to save. On a failed save, the creature loses a limb or extremity of your choice, not including the head, and has their damage permanently reduced by half if humanoid, or 1/4 if quadrupedal. On a successful save, the creature instead receives a persistent wound that does 1d6 damage to him a round until he takes an action to staunch the bleeding.
Flight of the Grey Geese
This School applies to Bows and Arrows.
The bow is said to be the universal weapon. Every culture worth its salt has invented it, and those that aren't have stolen it from one that has. Bows are incredibly useful, they are the supreme long ranged weapon in many settings, and even in a world with more advanced ones, the bow can still prove an undeniable asset. Heavy infantry and certain others scoff at the archer, declaring that his killing power is inferior to theirs. This is often true- against a well armored group in formation, an arrow can do little damage. Yet sometimes, a little damage is all it can take. However, even the common archer, mounted or otherwise, can sometimes provide the small amount of damage necessary to collapse a shield wall and break the enemies' line.
In some lands, this has been noticed, and certain peoples have declared the Archer to be the most aristocratic of all fighting styles. These peoples have worked to elevate the style of Archer, to improve it. Most famous among these are the Handsome Men, who wove the natural elegance of birds in flight into the forms and movements of archery, creating a beautiful, lethal style that utterly surpasses any other technique of Archery. It is rare and hard to learn, but the Grey Geese, as they are often called, are the most dangerous people in the world when it comes to bows and arrows, with the possible exception of a Handsome Man trained in the same style.
Novice: "Birds do not stand still, so neither should you." You can fire an arrow while running, jumping or falling as easily as you could while standing still.
Journeyman: "Birds have two wings, do they not?"When you make an attack with a bow and arrow on your turn, you may make two attacks.
Expert: "The eagle wrestles in the air, defying gravity and his opponent; so should you as well, remember that when you fight, you fight your opponent and causality." If someone makes a ranged attack against you, and this is a projectile that an arrow could parry, you may make 1 attack with a bow and arrow. If your roll beats your opponent's, then the attack is parried. This does not work on things you could not shoot out of the air with an arrow, such as a thrown boulder or a bullet.
Master: "Even grounded, a bird is still more agile than any creeping thing." If someone makes a melee attack against you, once per round, you may make 1 attack with a bow and arrow against them. If your roll is greater than your opponent's, you take no damage and they are shot with an arrow, taking damage as normal.
This school applies to blunt weapons that are not oversized or staves.
The Disciplining Rod is the school for blunt weapons that are not staves or incredibly large. This is a diverse group, but like with certain other schools, their are universal principles that apply to all weapons. Unlike some schools, which focus only on one specific weapon, Disciplining Rod teaches rules that will allow any student of this school to wield almost all blunted weapons with only a short adjustment period. Disciplining Rod is also said to be the most gentle school of violence, as while (almost) all other weapons are difficult to use for anything but killing, the Disciplining Rod can be used to punish and to crush. Parents use rods to discipline their children for a reason.
Novice: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." When you make an attack with a blunt weapon, you may choose to deal nonlethal damage instead of normal blunt damage. Nonlethal damage functions as lethal damage, except that it cannot reduce someone below 1 HP.
Journeyman: "Rebuke a scorner and he will hate you, rebuke a wise man and he will love you." When you parry an attack, if the attacker misses, you may force the attacker to save. On a failed save, you manage to disarm them.
Expert: "Even a fool can be thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut." On a hit with a blunt weapon, you may choose to deal no HP damage and instead deal 1d6 DEX damage. This makes the person hit get a -X penalty to all DEX checks, saving throws, and attacks. If the DEX damage they've taken ever equals or exceeds their DEX score, they fall to the ground, unable to move in any coordinated way.
Master: "To be ignorant is no virtue, yet no crime. To be willfully blind to the truth is worthy of a beating." On a hit with a blunt weapon, you may choose to deal no damage, and force the opponent to save. On a failed save, you manage to hit their head, knocking them out cold for 1d6 rounds. On a successful save, they manage to retain their consciousness. This only works on something that could be knocked out.
This school applies to chain weapons.
Binding Chain is the most eccentric of all martial schools, taught mostly in Foreign Parts, though there are some around here who recognize and teach it. Many regard it more as a school of artistic expression, the so-called "steel poetry". However, if properly trained, a chain-wielder can make mince-meat of any who challenge them. This is aided partially by the fact that chain weapons are incredibly difficult to defend against, but also because of the sublime technique of the Binding Chain school. Those who master these techniques leave carpets of bodies behind them, a stark contrast to their mesmerizing, elegant technique they demonstrate, their skillful movements more comparable to a dance or performance than to a fighting style.
Novice: "The crane does not ask for permission before it spears a fish." If you successfully hit an enemy with an attack, you may choose to do no damage and instead entangle their weapon. Then, as a free action, you may attempt to yank it out of their hands. The enemy must succeed a saving throw to keep hold of their weapon. This only works on weapons that could be stolen.
Journeyman: "The gull is scorned by other birds, for they envy its abundant harvests." If you attack someone with a chain weapon and miss, you can force him or her to save. On a failure, that person 's legs are entangled by their chain, and he or she falls over.
Expert: "The flamingo does not target its prey, but they are devoured anyway." As an action, you may begin spinning your chain weapon in a circular pattern around you. This area affected is as long as your chain permits. Anyone who enters this area takes damage as if they were hit by your chain, unless they have some kind of defense against being hit by your chain.
Master: "The kingfisher never misses." When making an attack with a chain weapon, you may choose two targets. Both targets should roll their 1d20 and damage dice, as if they were attacked by you. You may then choose who to attack. The target you chose must use the 1d20 and damage roll they rolled before you.
This school applies to axes that are not oversized.
Unlike the sword, which has always been associated with aristocracy, the axe is perhaps the greatest symbol of the common man. Axes have many constructive uses and are not usually intended for war. Thus, when the smallfolk rise up in rebellion, they do not carry with them swords, but crude spears, scythes, sickles and axes. The bow may be just as common among the commoners, but bows are used by all castes of people, even the nobility. In some cultures, the bow is exclusively a noble's weapon, so it is often disregarded as a symbol. The axe never bears such stigma, as it is primarily a tool used for splitting wood.
Despite the humble origin of the axe though, the adherents of the Woodsman school will assure you that an axe can split men as easily as it can logs. This is a fact they are all too eager to demonstrate. The adherents of this school tend to be eager to fight and prove themselves, taking offense quickly and always ready to bare steel. They tend to travel, carving bloody canyons across battlefields and among those foolish enough to challenge them. Additionally, the adherents to these schools sometimes are known to be firebrands and radicals, often spreading ideals of freedom and equality among the smallfolk. Their reputation as fomenters of rebellion is undeserved, but it is not entirely confusing. For this reason, the school is a bit of a persecuted one. Despite this fact, it has resisted any attempt to stamp it out, as one of the things that never goes out of style is sticking it to the man.
Novice: "Authority is permission granted- it can be denied." If an opponent attempts to defend against one of your attacks made with an axe with a Quick weapon (base 1d6 damage) ignore his damage roll and treat it as if he just rolled 1d20 to defend.
Journeyman: "Resistance to Tyrants is obedience to God." If an opponent attempts to defend against one of your attacks made with an axe and rolls less damage than what you did, ignore his damage roll and treat it as if he just rolled a 1d20 to defend.
Expert: "The power of the state is not the monopoly on force, but the monopoly on law." If an opponent attempts to defend against one of your attacks made with an axe with their armor and that armor has an Armor Rating = (AC-10) of less than your damage roll, ignore it and treat the opponent as if he was unarmored and only rolled a 1d20 to defend.
Master: "The supreme power is violence, it is the power from which all others are derived." If an opponent attempts to defend against one of your attacks made with an axe and they have a lower STR score or know fewer secret techniques than you, subtract the higher difference in either one of those categories from their higher defense roll (either from their 1d20 or damage dice, but not both).
This school applies to daggers, knives and other small, concealable blades.
In some cultures, it is considered dishonorable for a woman to know about martial things, and women pride themselves on ignorance of the ways of the violence. Some cultures do not hold this perspective, however, and claim that it is the duty of all people to be able to defend their family and tribe from outsiders. The Orzane are infamous for this, along with the Humans, who both emphasize the idea that man must not rely on his rulers or his God to protect him, but instead champion the virtues of courage and martial excellence. The Orzane in particular take this to the furthest extent possible, so much so that almost every adult in their society has at least some training with arms. The daughters of the aristocracy are no exception to this rule. Many of the fathers of the Orzanian people have trained their daughters in the school of Courtesy Killing.
While many of the martial schools built around daggers began as assassin schools, some have found new homes among the Orzanian aristocracy. After all, a dagger is concealable, easy to carry, and useful in many circumstances. Additionally, training to fight with a dagger is less likely to lead to unsightly scars or other lasting injuries. Some Orzanian nobles even take great pride in their training, wearing knives with gilded etchings or pearl-adorned handles. So be careful- the frail looking girl laden with jewels and carrying a "ceremonial" dagger could be a lot more dangerous than she looks.
Novice: "Beware the rose, it has thorns." You can conceal a dagger on your person so well, without magic or an absolutely exhaustive search, it will not be found. A simple pat-down or a visual inspection will not be enough to find it.
Journeyman: "You only receive flowers at three times- at a wedding, at a gala, and at a funeral." If you hit someone with an attack from your dagger, you may choose to cling to him, automatically doing damage to him each round by rolling your damage dice. This makes you vulnerable, as when rolling your defense die, you can only roll 1d20, as you are busy using your dagger to stab your opponent.
Expert: "If a bouquet irritates your eyes, it does not matter how pretty it looks." If you choose to, you may make an attack with a dagger. If you succeed, you do no HP damage, but instead damage a body part, reducing its effectiveness. This includes but is not limited to, cutting off someone's ear, stabbing out someone's eye, or etc.
Master: "A rude guest is like a fallen petal, it only spoils the decorations for the slow-witted." If you make a successful attack with a dagger, you may force that person to save. On a failed save, that person takes an additional 1d6 damage a round from bleeding out. This damage continues until they die or find some way to staunch the wound.
This school applies to staves and spears.
Unlike the Woodsman, the Farmer's Friend school is hardly known outside of rural regions and a few scattered sellsword companies, a distant and secret style. Many have heard stories of how a farmer with a quarterstaff fought off three trained warriors, but these are usually just considered folk tales. They often are, but they are also rooted in truth. There are warriors out there that can humiliate warriors trained in far more aristocratic weapons with nothing more than a length of wood, but they are rare. Most who wield spears do so because the spear is a simple, intuitive weapon that requires little preliminary training to begin learning. A few will turn even this simple weapon into an instrument of carnage, crushing or piercing all in their way.
Novice: "Pain is the enemy of cowards, but the friend of brave men." If an opponent attacks and hits you, once per round, you reduce the damage taken by the base damage dice of your weapon.
Journeyman: "You are not an island, but an isthmus of a greater landmass." If two opponents are adjacent to each other or standing on either side of them, you may attack both of them at the same time. This requires two attack rolls.
Expert: "Chaos will reach out to grab you, but she will not find you if you run toward her." You may parry ranged attacks as per your Novice ability, assuming the ranged attack is something that could be defended against by a length of wood. So no bullets or magical projectiles, but shurikens or arrows.
Master: "Peace is greater than war, for war requires action, and peace requires nothing but rest." You may take an action to spin your weapon around you. You must use your action each round to keep spinning it. If you take an action to do anything else, you stop spinning your weapon. Anyone who attacks you while you are spinning it like this must save. On a failed save, their attack automatically fails to hit you.
This school applies to oversized weapons: greataxes, greatclubs, warhammers or etc.
The Unyielding School is often said to be the most simplistic of Martial Schools. This is perhaps true, the adherents of the School will say. However, they will argue, just because something is large and occasionally cumbersome, does not mean it cannot be wielded with poetry and art. Some would dispute this, but anyone who has seen a Master of the Unyielding School will be able to see the school's point. The school is surprisingly deep, despite its simple subject matter.
Novice: "Those without sure footing are cast aside by the storms of life." If you attack someone, regardless of whether you hit or miss, you can force that someone to save. On a failure, that person is thrown to the ground and knocked prone.
Journeyman: "Those without courage will never fix the problem before them." You can take an action to defend yourself by placing your Unyielding weapon before you. Any opponent who moves to attack you must save. On a failed save, you maneuver your weapon so it stays between you too, and they cannot reach you. This does not apply to a weapon that is longer than your Unyielding weapon, such as a pike or lance.
Expert: "Battle strains the body, life burdens the soul." On a hit with an Unyielding Weapon, you may choose to do no HP damage, but attribute damage instead. If the attack missed, then your attack does 1d6 STR damage as the target's body strains under the impact. For the rest of the fight, the target receives a -X penalty to all STR checks, saving throws, and attack rolls where X is the damage dealt. If the attack hit, then the target takes 1d6 CON damage as you damage something vitally important. The target receives a -X penalty to CON checks, saving throws and damage rolls, and must save or start to pass out from the pain.
Master: "The greater must clear the way for the lesser." If you attack someone, regardless of whether you hit or miss, you break that person's guard. The next person who attacks them, they can only roll 1d20 in defense of that roll and not 1d20 and their damage dice.
This school applies to firearms.
If you don't have guns in your setting, just ignore this one. Nukaria doesn't have any, as of yet, but if it did, this is what they would use.
Gunslingers are those ancient men of myth, striding out of the East, bearing instruments of death on their hips and wide hats on their heads. They are steely-eyed and clear-sighted, strong and fast, capable of finishing a fight before it starts. Some will claim they are nothing without their guns, others will say it does not matter. The martial advantage they possess is so great, they could be the worst warriors in the world, but as long as they hit, they would still be victorious. Both of these perspectives are wrong, to an extent. Both are also true, to an extent. Gunslingers are not poor warriors, but their guns are not as dangerous as the stories tell them to be. If you get shot, you won't necessarily die. Don't push your luck, though.
Novice: "I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father." When facing someone with a melee weapon, unless you are face-to-face, you can always act before them.
Journeyman: "I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father." As an action, you may make a special type of shot to attempt to disable an opponent's weapon or disarm them (depends on the weapon; Referee's Discretion). The enemy should make a saving throw as per normal, but all the damage is directed at the weapon. The Referee will determine whether the weapon is destroyed as removed from an enemy's grip as per a d10% equal to the damage rolled.
Expert: "I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father." You accuracy is not impeded by almost anything, you suffer no penalties to trying to hit a target based on its movement, your own movement (running, jumping, on horseback, riding or driving in a vehicle, etc). Only the most extreme of conditions will prevent you from firing with your full accuracy (meaning enemies will receive no bonuses to their saves).
Master: "First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire." When facing (almost) any enemy who is below half health, you may choose to replace any successful hit with a firearm with a Save vs Death. On a failed save, the enemy dies. On a successful one, you somehow missed a vital spot. Referee's Discretion applies, as some enemies will be immune to this ability. For example, a creature with the ability to regenerate or a robot might not be affected by such a shot.
This school applies to shields.
The Unbreaking Art is a martial school, technically, even though it teaches no offensive techniques. Rather, it is a purely defensive school, the only one of its kind. The Unbreaking Art teaches its adherents how to protect themselves and imbue their shields with pure will, to protect against all forms of attack. It is not a pacifistic school, per say, though many of its adherents do lean toward such a philosophy. Rather, it seeks to maximize the student's ability to protect themselves and others. As such, it tends to attract noble students, and it is widely recognized. Just knowing someone is a student of the Unbreaking Art will make some people more friendly to them. Other martial schools tend to look down on students of the Unbreaking Art, but the smallfolk love them, for often, the students of the only defensive school are Angels clad in flesh.
Novice: "Life is the teacher, pain her rod of correction." When you are damaged by an attack and you have a shield, you may choose to reduce the damage by 1d12. If you wish, you may also sunder the shield, destroying it but cancelling out 12 damage.
Journeyman: "Nature is a disagreeable wench, wisely avoided." You can use your Shield and your Novice ability to protect against any form of damage, from necrotic to holy to fire to ice to anything else.
Expert: "Do not trust the Wizard, for they do not even trust themselves." If someone casts a spell on you that requires an attack roll on their part or a saving throw on yours, if you exceed their attack roll or pass your saving throw, you can reflect the spell back at them.
Master: "While the trueborn can worry about being disowned, those who are adopted never need to fear being discarded." Anyone who stands behind you receives the same reduction of damage you receive from your ability, and you can protect them as if they were part of your body.
Fist Arts are Martial Schools that teach Secret Techniques that apply only to unarmed strikes. You cannot use weapons to utilize these secret techniques, you must use your bare body. Additionally, some Fist Arts specifically teach only to use specific parts of the body, and these restrictions apply to. For example, you cannot use the Secret Techniques of Leisure Kicks with your hands, but only with your feet, knees or legs.
Demon Flips the Cart
This martial school is originally credited to Demons, who taught it to mortals in exchange for various favors. It is a talent that only those with dark impulses can learn- only those with the seeds of corruption can bring forth the true powers of this school. Demon Flips the Cart is a school that seeks to teach its adherents how to carefully restrain their darker natures, then, when necessary, to unleash the worst parts of themselves in a maelstrom of violence and destruction. It is a rare and dangerous art, persecuted by all sensible people. The adherents to this school practice it in secret, often while disguising themselves as adherents to other schools or occasionally, totally normal people.
This school isn't necessarily connected to the Minions of the Dark Powers, but some Blackguards do practice it.
Novice: "Make the whole body a weapon of war and you will never be helpless." Your fists, kicks, knees and elbows do 1d6 damage. When you make an attack against someone, if you hit them, you may immediately make an additional bonus attack against them as a bonus action. This bonus attack does not benefit from your damage bonus.
Journeyman: "Invert reality, transform your opponent's strengths into weakness and you will never need to seek a vulnerability." If you make an attack against someone and fail to hit him, you can force them to save. On a failed save, you grapple and throw them, hurling them to the ground. This only works on opponents you could throw.
Expert: "The thirst for blood is what separates the good warrior from the great warrior." As a free action, you can imbue your body with energy drawn from your polluted soul. This energy saturates your body, twisting it, making you stronger. While this energy is flowing through your body, all your attacks do +1d6 necrotic damage on a hit. You can keep up this flow of energy for a number of rounds equal to your level before it dries up and you become exhausted.
Master: "The pit will give you power, even as it seeks to devour you." Whenever you successfully attack and damage someone, if the amount of damage you dealt to them is greater than or equal to their HD or Damage Threshold, you may force them to save. On a failed save, their soul is torn from their body and sent directly down to Sheol. However, on a successful save, the person becomes immune to your energy bonuses for the rest of the day.
Twenty Five Purities Path
The Twenty Five Purities Path is an experimental defensive style created by an insane martial artist who was afraid of almost everything, from his own shadow to the sun to physicians to snakes to mirrors and everything else in between. However, unlike most madmen, who can do little more than hide or make excuses, this madman was also a genius, whose martial prowess was glorious. If he had not been stricken with madness, he would have rewritten the entire history of fighting. However, his madness crippled him, leaving his only creation to be this obscure style.
The Twenty Five Purities Path is a series of defensive techniques that teach one how to protect against increasingly specific threats. It is useless in some circumstances, due to its hyper-specialization, while in others it is the best tool for the job. The style reflects its creator in many ways. This is why it is often believed that only madmen practice this style, as it is rumored that the creator's madness lurks in the pages of the secret manuals used to communicate the style, and that by learning it, you gradually "catch" the same madness. This is utter rubbish, as far as most adherents of the school are concerned. At least, the ones that could be found.
Novice: "Always act, never react. The one who reacts is the loser." Unless surprised, you can always move first, unless you are facing an opponent who can move faster than you. You gain the Conviction, "I am being spied on. I know who it is, and I must not let them know I know."
Journeyman: "You cannot lose a battle you never fight." When rolling your defense dice, you may roll twice and choose the better outcome, if you so wish. You gain the Conviction, "Someone is attempting to sabotage me and my goals. I must always remain vigilant."
Expert: "An attacker generally needs a three-to-one advantage to succeed in breaking a fortified line." If you wish, instead of making a defense roll, you may make a saving throw of the Referee's choice. On a success, you take no damage. Also, if you have to roll a saving throw to take half damage from an effect, you instead take no damage on a successful save and half damage on a failed save. You gain the Conviction, "Someone has implanted something in my body. I must discover who did this and have them remove it, before it is too late."
Master: "Supreme excellence is not defeating the enemy on the battlefield. Rather, supreme excellence is breaking the enemy without fighting." As an action, you may attempt to predict the dangerous possibilities from studying a scene. Everyone present in the scene should make an attack roll. If they then attack within 1 minute of you making your prediction, they must use the attack roll they just rolled. You gain the Conviction, "Everyone around me is plotting to kill me. My friends, my family, they're all in on it. I must escape."
Some would declare that Flying Snow is not a true martial school, as it has neither defensive nor offensive techniques. The adherents of Flying Snow mock these people as foolishness, then bound away on the surfaces of leaves. The practitioners of this school are elegant and precise, able to walk on water, leaves, the weapons of their enemies, and any number of other absurd things. They soar through the air, making a mockery of gravity. They tend toward arrogance and close-mindedness, and if you'll forgive me, a high and mighty attitude.
Novice: "Like all physical laws, the law of gravity is just a suggestion to those who can avoid it." As a free action, you can lower your weight, making your body becomes light as air. You can leap a number of feet into the air equal to your STR score. You take no fall damage. However, while in this state, you take double damage from all physical non-lightened sources. Magic damage is the same though, no matter which form you are in. You may cause yourself to become heavy again as a free action.
Journeyman: "Do not dignify the Earth by even acknowledging her as worthy of your footfalls." You can run along walls for a short period of time.
Expert: "The ocean is a quarrelsome woman. Do not associate with her, if you can." You can walk on the surface of water, though doing so is difficult, and its hard to move fast or with great dexterity without slipping. You're too light to sink, but not to drown.
Master: "If you allow the winds to carry you, you will never find yourself in a dull place." You learn how to ride the air currents to extend your jumps. If you jump or move in the direction the wind is blowing while lightened, you can travel 10 times the usual distance you do.
Some martial schools attempt to advance a philosophy or teach a mode of being. They seek to uplift the spirit and train the body. Others are more pragmatic, focusing on sheer effectiveness, with the spiritual aspect of the school either neglected or non-existent. The Pattram Swordhand school is one of the latter types. It is a killing school, focused entirely on the taking of life. The Masters of this school are known for their cruelty and the students for their blood-thirst. It is an ill-omened school. Whenever an adherent to the Pattram Swordhand school arrives in your area, you can expect bloodshed will surely follow, either because the adherents are here to involve themselves in a local conflict or because the adherents are going to stir up trouble so they have an excuse to practice on some living targets.
The school has never been explicitly banned, but it is ill-omened and much disliked, and few will openly associate with adherents to this school. Many will quietly support the school, however, as its adherents are some of the most lethal warriors money can buy.
Novice: "A superior weapon system is the result of a superior will." Your fists do 1d4+STR damage. If you hit someone with a knifehand strike in the throat, they must save or collapse into unconsciousness.
Journeyman: "Money is not the sinew of war, men are." Your fists do 1d6+STR damage. When you hit someone with your fists, you may choose to do either blunt or sharp damage. Your swordhands can cut through anything a large knife could.
Expert: "It is easier to die than to endure pain with patience." Your fists do 1d8+STR damage. Your swordhands can cut anything you could with an axe. You also learn the secret cords of mortals, and where they are located. If you wish, you may make an attack against one of these secret cords. If you hit the cord, you can sever it, partially paralyzing or blinding the opponent whose cord you just severed.
Master: "Victory and defeat are illusions, in battle there is only life and death." Your fists do 1d10+STR damage. Your swordhands can cut anything not enchanted or super-hardened. You also learn the secret of separating men from their body parts. If you attack someone and do damage greater than or equal to half that person's HP, you can chop off a limb or body part of your choice, from an ear to a finger to an arm. You may not cut off their head, though, unless you reduce their HP to 0.
49 Empty Palms
49 Empty Palms is a martial school that originated in the Angels of the Orzanian Religion. It is widely practiced by those who have the discipline to master it, as it is a harsh, demanding school that demands nothing short of perfection. And while no student has ever reached this status, the pursuit of it hardens the adherents to this school, making them as strong of mind as they are in body.
Empty Palms is not a style practiced by many. It is hard to learn and difficult to practice, requiring stringent dedication and constant effort. Very few wish to perform not only the grueling physical training, but also to say prayers before any battle or to constantly remind themselves of the three great traits, "Obedience, Service, Temperance." For these reasons it is primarily an elite style, only practiced by certain classes. The most famous among these are the Stepsons, the personal guard of the Emperor and the agents of law and order in the Imperial Capital.
Novice: "Empty Palm crushes the deceitful." Your unarmed strikes do 1d8 damage. You can also parry attacks. When you roll for the damage parried, if there is any left over, you can move it to parry another attack. You may continue this process until the damage you would have parried is all expended.
Journeyman: "Empty Palm smashes the Unrepentant." On a hit with your unarmed strike, you can halve the damage you deal. If you do so, you can blast the person you hit backwards up to 30'.
Expert: "Empty Palm vanquishes the Wicked." On a miss, as a free action, you may dance with your opponent, mimicking their movements. As long as you continue to do this, they cannot strike you with a melee attack, but neither can you. You must keep using your action to dance with your opponent. If you ever take an action to do something else, you stop dancing with them, and they can hit you with their melee attacks.
Master: "Empty Palm quenches the flame of evil." On a hit with your unarmed strike, you can choose to deal no damage, and instead force an opponent to save. On a failed save, the opponent's soul is blasted out of their body. This can also be used to exorcise Outsiders who have possessed someone or are inhabiting someone's body. If there are multiple souls in one body, you may pick which one is expelled.
Leisure Kicks was a style originally invented by a perverted and gluttonous female warrior who was famous for her decadence. Eventually, her appetites grew so large that she embarassed her colleagues, who cut her off from the official funding and expelled her from their group. In response to this theft and shame, she vowed to return and destroy her former allies. Additionally, she vowed she would not lift a hand to do so. Thus, she invented a martial school centered on fighting with the legs and knees, primarily using kicks. Thus, the Leisure Kicks style was born. It proved able enough to exact her revenge and build her a new pocket kingdom.
However, when the religious authorities objected to her public depravity, she did not take it well, and kicked a priest's ehad clean off. In response, the priest's Deity declared her school wicked, and the authorities of the city had all the students arrested or driven out. The female fighter did not bother to flee, refusing to believe her style could be defeated, and instead stayed and fought to the death with a group of her most faithful students. She was eventually cut down after flattening almost fifty men beneath her bootheels. Since that time, Lesiure Kicks has been an illegal school, yet still persists in many dark corners and lawless regions of the world.
Novice: "A weak man tells you how the world is. A strong man defines it for himself." Your kicks do 1d6+STR damage. You can also jump a number of feet into the air equal to your STR score.
Journeyman: "Transform your failures into the first strokes of a strategy, and you will never be defeated." If you miss on an attack roll made with a kick because of an opponent's armor or shield, you can, as a free action, immediately push off that opponent's shield or armor and jump in any direction you wish.
Expert: "Theft, Hate, and Pride are thought of as the three great sins, but they are in actuality the three great virtues." As a free action, you may ignite the sin in your body, allowing your feet to be engulfed in flames of sickly green, bruise purple, or inky black. These flames do +1d6 damage to anyone who touches them. Each round, you must list off one notable vice you have or morally abnkrupt act you commited recently. If you cann't, the flames do 1d4 damage to you. You can extinguish the flames as a free action.
Master: "Take what you can, if you can; it is your right." If you are in the air, you can take an action to perform a firebird strike. This is a move where you slam into the ground and crush anyone you land upon. Anyone you land on takes damage as if you kicked them, plus any fall damage you might have. If you have your sin-flames burning around your feet when you do this, when you land you unleash a 2d6 fireball that hits everyone around your target for 2d6 fire damage, save for half.
Hokuto Shinken is an almost completely unknown martial school. It is not widely known or practiced, and is generally passed down from one master to one or two students. This is perhaps for the best, as Hokuto Shinken is one of the most dangerous martial schools, penultimate among all Fist Arts. It is a school that utilizes the energy flowing through an opponent's own body, turning someone's Chi against them. It is supremely dangerous in the hands of even a novice, and leaves those who challenge the adherents of this school in pieces across the landscape.
Novice: "And I'll take down anyone who gets in my way with a single finger!" Your hands, feet and other parts of your body do 1d6 damage on a hit. Take an action to prepare yourself. Then make an attack with your hands. On a hit, the opponent take no damage, but instead are paralyzed for 1 minute. The opponent may make a saving throw each round to try and reassert control of their body. If the opponent succeed their saving throw, the paralysis ends.
Journeyman: "Pick a spot, I'll make sure... to bury you there." Take an action to prepare yourself. Then make an attack with your hands. On a hit, roll damage as per normal. But the opponent does not take any damage. Instead, for each point of damage taken, you may control as many body parts of your opponent for 1 minute per point of damage. You may also use this control to bend or contort an opponent's body until it breaks from the strain. The opponent may make a saving throw each round to try and reassert control of their body. If the opponent succeed their saving throw, this control effect ends and they regain control of all their body parts.
Expert: "I won't even leave a hair of you left in this world." Take an action to prepare yourself. Then make an attack with your hands. On a hit, your opponent must save. On a successful save, they take damage as normal. On a failed save, the opponent takes 1d6*[damage roll] damage as his or her chi is turned against him and explodes out of him. If this reduces an opponent to zero HP or below, it blows him or her to pieces from the inside out.
Master: "You're already dead." If you have touched someone within the last 10 minutes, by taking an action, you can focus on their Chi to the exclusion of all else. As such, whenever that person attacks you, add your level to any defense roll made against their attacks, as you can sense the movements of their Chi and thus predict their movements. You may only focus on one opponent at a time.
Ki Rata is considered by many to the ultimate Art, the supreme of not only the Fist Arts, but of all martial schools everywhere. Its power is exaggerated, certainly, but what the adherents of this school can do is astonishing. However, learning Ki Rata is all but impossible. Their is only one known monastery in the world that teaches it, and they do so rather sparingly. They only ever recruit initiates to replace a Master when he dies, so there will always be someone around to stop others from practicing Ki Rata. The reasons for this are two-fold. The first is that the monks of Ki Rata are dedicated to non-involvement with the world as much as possible, seeking peace and trangquility above all else. Secondly, there are stories, ancient legends of a Demon Prince who ruled over a vast, four-colored Empire that oppressed and devoured all who he stood over. Who this Demon Prince was is unknown, and he may never have existed, merely being some kind of archetypal representation of the Empire as a whole. This is a theory supported by the fact that the Demon Prince varies from telling to telling- sometimes he is a Human, sometimes an Orzanian, sometimes he is dreadfully ugly and wrapped in black armor, other times he is devastatingly beautiful and wears nothing but the finest silks and lace, still others claim that he had only one eye.
The stories also disagree on what specific powers the Demon Prince had. Some say he was a powerful sorcerer or he drank the blood of his enemies to gain their strength, or he consorted with beings beyond the pale who gave him mystical abilities in exchange for sacrifice. The Monks of Ki Rata tell a different story, however. They claim that he was a student of their order, a Master of Ki Rata. The destruction he wreaked was unimaginable. As such, the monks have vowed to never teach Ki Rata to those who would abuse its power for vain-glory or self-aggrandizement, as well as to only use their powers in self-defense.
Novice: "Violence is a cycle only fools perpetuate." Your base unarmed strikes do 1d6+STR damage on a hit. Also, as an action, you can take 1d4 FS damage and make an unarmed attack. On a hit, your attack does double damage.
Journeyman: "Death claims all, so if you seek him, do not merely wait, but chase after him." As a free action in response to being hit, you may parry a successful attack against you, reducing the damage by your unarmed strike's damage. Additionally, you may take 1d4 FS damage and parry the attack, but this time, the amount of damage parried is doubled. If this reduces the damage taken to zero, any remaining points of parried damage count as damage toward the person attacking you.
Expert: "Your preparations will not be sufficient to defend against Chaos." Whenever you make an unarmed strike, you may take 1 FS damage and up the damage die you roll for that attack. For example, 1d6 becomes 1d8 and etc, maxing out at 1d12.
Master: "The murderer kills not one, but all men." Whenever you make an attack against an enemy, if there are any others you wish to attack directly adjacent, behind or within your range of motion, you may target them as well with the attack. You do not make a secondary attack roll, instead they roll a defense roll as if they were the primary target. You may do this for up to four enemies at once, as long as they fit the appropriate qualifications.